A potential replacement for Theresa May just lost the right to call himself a ‘patriot’

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Support us and go ad-free

One of the key arguments for Brexit was the £350m a week we send to the EU. Although that figure has been debunked, it’s clear what the implication was – that British money should stay in British hands.

As such, it’s surprising to discover that a prominent Brexiteer and potential future leader has been linked to offshore accounts. Albeit not that surprising given his track record.

Offshore

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s name appeared in the Paradise Papers because of a $680,000 (£520,000) payment he received when employed by an offshore investment firm. Documents reportedly show that Rees-Mogg owned 50,000+ shares in British Virgin Island-based Lloyd George Management. When the Bank of Montreal bought the firm in 2011, Rees-Mogg received the $680,000.

Rees-Mogg is not accused of doing anything illegal or evading tax. But his response to the issue has given an insight into his thoughts on tax avoidance. He claimed that offshore trusts are legitimate, as tax is paid on the money when it is returned to the UK. He also said that Labour MPs criticising tax avoidance:

are in the awful position of being both hypocritical and not very bright…

It is classic socialism, a case of do as I say and not as I do.

The problem is that people are not necessarily forced to bring their money back to the UK. Rees-Mogg further clarified his argument, saying:

Read on...

The essential point is that honest taxpayers receive no benefit from offshore structures.

This comment will obviously come as a relief to anyone who thinks that the multi-millionaires who have hidden their wealth in labryinthine offshore tax avoidance schemes are “honest taxpayers”.

Voting record

Rees-Mogg has in the past voted against proposals to reduce both tax avoidance and evasion. Tax avoidance is using loopholes to dubiously, yet legally, avoid paying a fair share of tax. Tax evasion is using illegal means to do the same thing. Rees-Mogg has criticised the two being compared in the past. Speaking during a parliamentary debate, he said:

Doesn’t this question itself show the danger of alliding tax avoidance and tax evasion?

That there is no obligation on anybody to pay more tax than the law requires and even the most respectable families have schemes or arrangements to minimise death duties and things like that.

Whereas tax evasion is a very serious criminal offence which should be come down on with the full force of the law.

Obviously this creates a two-tier tax system. With one rule for people who can afford to have accountants managing their money, and another for everyone else.

Rees-Mogg has also voted against other measures which could have reduced tax avoidance.

‘Patriotic’

Rees-Mogg is not the only prominent Brexiteer who has been linked to tax avoidance. But none of the others recently topped a Conservative poll on who should be the next party leader.

Rees-Mogg may think that respectable people keep British money where the taxman can’t get it. It’s questionable whether the electorate will agree with him.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via Wikimedia

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us

Comments are closed